“[A] perfectly orchestrated girl-who-cried-wolf thriller.”—The New York Times Book Review
A dark, utterly compulsive novel about what happens when the warped imagination of a teenage girl turns into reality…
When fifteen-year-old Yasmin—obese, obsessive and deemed a freak by her peers—sees a sinister man watching Alice Taylor from the school fence, she becomes convinced he’s planning to take her. After all, who wouldn’t want the popular and perfect Alice?
Then Yasmin realizes if she can find out who he is before he acts, she’ll be the only one who can tell the police, save Alice and become Alice’s heroine. But as Yasmin discovers more about this man, her affections begin to shift. Perhaps she was wrong about him. Perhaps she doesn’t need Alice after all…
And then Alice vanishes.
Yasmin is an overweight 15-year-old with no friends, missing her dad who died five years ago, stuck living with her mom and her loser judgmental stepfather, Gary, in a nondescript U.K. suburb, and obsessed with Alice Taylor, one of the popular girls in her class who barely gives her the time of day. But from the get-go, the wildly clever Kavanagh, in her spectacular adult-novel debut, launches a new obsession for Yasmin: a strange man standing at the edge of the school property who appears to be as drawn to Alice as she is. Yasmin is certain he is going to kidnap Alice (she even Googles "how to spot a pedophile"), and that notion inspires a series of fantasies in which Yasmin heroically saves Alice and they become best friends forever. The canny Yasmin insinuates herself into the stalker's life so that she can identify him to the police if he goes through with the horrible deed. Things get complicated when he turns out to be the first person in her adolescent life who doesn't mock her or treat her with disdain, and they get even more complicated when Alice actually disappears, and Yasmin's stepfather is a suspect. The ensuing events and the stunning conclusion underscore the author's searing insight into teenage behavior and the desperation for connection.